How to Choose the Best Roof Material for You

Everyone wants a good roof over their head. But one of the most critical factors for ensuring this is choosing the right roofing material for your home. Of course, there are many options and many different factors that will impact what type of roofing a homeowner goes with. But what are some of the most popular roofing materials?


Metal roofing, asphalt shingles, wooden shingles, synthetic materials, and slate shingles are all popular roofing material choices. All of these materials will differ in factors such as price, ease of installation, and roof longevity. A suitable roofing material will fit both a homeowner’s budget and unique needs.


Ultimately, choosing a roofing material will come down to personal preference, viability, and cost. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each roof type below.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are prized for their durability and attractiveness. Most metal roofing systems can be easily installed over whatever existing roofing material is present. With proper care, a metal roof may last up to 70 years. Still, a metal roof may not be correct for all situations. For example, the raw costs for a metal roof material can be some of the largest of any material type. (Though these costs can be offset by the relative ease and speed of installation.)


Of course, there are various metal roofing types to consider. Options can include standing seam metal roofing or metal shingles. And knowing which type is suitable for your situation can be challenging. (Aspects such as roof pitch can make a sizeable difference in feasibility.) This is one reason why it is always recommended to work with local roofing professionals.


A local contractor will be aware of common pitfalls and mistakes that can be made when installing a metal roof in your area. For example, a metal roofing contractor in Howard County, IN, will be able to ensure that the pitch of the roof is suitable for metal and that it will stand up to the various weather conditions one will experience in Kokomo. Not every roofing company has experience working with metal, which makes shopping around for providers a must. After all, an improperly engineered rooftop will lack many benefits it should provide—no matter what material is used.

Asphalt Shingles

By far, the most popular roofing material is asphalt shingles (with various types combining for approximately 70% of market share). The popularity is most likely due to the material’s economical cost and its versatility. This sort of roofing also comes in different varieties, such as architectural shingles or 3-tab shingles. While these shingles won’t last forever, homeowners may be able to get roughly 20-30 years of use from them before a wholesale re-roofing. The best part? Asphalt shingles are incredibly affordable, starting at just over $1.50 per square foot for the least expensive options.

 Wooden Shingles

Cedar roofing shingles offer a refined roofing material option with a relatively robust lifespan at an economical price point. Wooden shingles cost between $4 and $9 per square foot at their lowest price, which can compete with almost any other covering type.


The local climate will be the main differentiator regarding wooden roofing lifespans. Wooden shingles aren’t recommended for areas that are known for moist weather or prone to forest fires. Damp wooden shingles will degrade faster, needing replacement after 20 years. (However, in the right circumstances, a wooden shingle covering could last decades longer.)

Slate Shingles

Slate is one of the most popular roofing materials used for luxury homes. And while most would assume a slate roof possesses superior durability, the reality is more of a mixed bag. Slate roofs can last a couple of hundred years but installing them is a highly technical and precise process. High installation costs combine with one of the highest costs for raw materials to make this a truly luxurious roofing option.


Lastly, when it comes to slate roofing, there is a final consideration: weight. The total weight of slabs of stone and multiple underlayers can quickly add up. For this reason, if your roof isn’t properly engineered for this weight.


Synthetic Shingles

Synthetic materials have made leaps and bounds as an alternative roofing material. Typically, the most common synthetic style of the roofing will use a specialized rubber material that comes from recycled materials. This rubber has been specially treated for increased durability to resemble slate more closely. And while it won’t last as long as a slate roof (with synthetics topping out at 50 years of life), this option can closely mimic the desired slate look without other disadvantages, such as excess weight.

Choosing Which Material is Right for Your Home

So, now that you know a little bit more about different roofing materials, how should you choose the right roof for you? Three critical criteria are cost, durability, and local climate. Ultimately, it’ll all come down to a homeowner’s situation. (There is no one-size-fits-all solution in roofing.)


Every situation will be unique, but keeping the above criteria in mind can help any homeowner make the right decision for their home’s roofing needs. And don’t forget, getting a local expert’s opinion on important decisions is always a good idea.

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